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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Views of the Atonement

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 Re: Historical Views of the Atonement

I would bet that these views, or some of them at least, are part of the documentary that the OP mentioned. So, I'm not trying to replace those.

1) RANSOM VIEW
This view of the atonement was one of the earliest and teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice usually said to have been paid to Satan or to death itself, in some ransom views paid to God the Father. This ransom/sacrifice was paid in satisfaction for the bondage and debt of the souls of humanity as a result of their inborn sin that they inherited because of their descent from Adam. In regards to the ransom being paid to Satan, it is based on the belief that man's spiritual condition is in bondage to Satan and the ransom was paid to purchase and secureman's freedom and enslavement from Satan.

Ransom View Proponents:
Origen
Justin Martyr
Basil of Caeserea
Gregory of Nyssa
Gustaf Aulen

2) RECAPITULATION VIEW
This is an early theory of the atonement, first comprehensively developed by Irenaeus. In this view, Christ succeeds where Adam failed and sinned by undoing the wrong Adam did and, because of his union with humanity, Christ leads humanity to eternal life, including moral perfection.

3) MORAL INFLUENCE VIEW
In this view, the purpose and results of Christ's death was to influence mankind toward moral improvement. This theory denies that Christ died to satisfy any kind of divine justice, but teaches instead that His death was designed to greatly impress mankind with a sense of God's love, resulting in softening their hearts and leading them to repentance. Thus, the atonement is not directed towards God with the purpose of maintaining His justice, but towards man with the purpose of persuading and influencing him to right action. (Theopedia)

The moral influence view of the atonement teaches that the purpose and work of Jesus Christ was to bring positive moral change to humanity. This moral change came and comes through the teachings and example of Jesus, the Christian movement He founded and the inspiring effect of His martyrdom and resurrection. It is one of the oldest views of the atonement in Christian theology and a prevalent view for most of Christian history. (Wikipedia)

Moral Influence Proponents:
Pierre Abelard
Hastings Rashdall

4) SATISFACTION VIEW
This view maintains that Jesus Christ suffered crucifixion as a substitute for human sin, satisfying God's just wrath against man's transgression because of Christ's merit. Theologically speaking, the word "satisfaction" does not mean gratification as in common historical usage, but rather "to make restitution:" mending what was broken, or paying back what was taken and owed. Justice is one of the main characteristics of God and that justice must be atoned for. This concept is connected with the legal concept of balancing out an injustice. This view was largely developed from the works of Anselm of Cantebury who saw it as a needed improvement over the earlier ransom theory of the atonement.

Satisfaction View proponents:
Anselm of Canterbury
Roman Catholic Church (see Roman Catholic soteriology)
Lutheran
Some Reformed traditions of western Christianity

Anselm regarded his satisfaction view of the atonement as a distinct improvement over the older ransom theory of atonement, which he saw as inadequate. Anselm's theory was a precursor to the refinements of Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, which introduced the idea of punishment to meet the demands of divine justice.

5) MORAL GOVERNMENT VIEW
This view teaches that Christ suffered and was crucified on behalf of humanity so that God could forgive humans without punishing them while still maintaining divine justice. Christ's suffering was a real and meaningful substitute for the punishment humans deserve, but it did not consisit of Christ receiving the exact punishment due to sinful people. Instead, God publically demonstrated His displeasure with sin through the suffering of His son as a propitiation for sin. According to the moral government view, the scope of Christ's death applies not to individuals directly but to the Church as a corporate entity. Individuals then partake of the atonement by becoming members of the Church through faith.

Moral Government proponents:
Arminianism

6) PENAL SUBSTITUTION VIEW
The penal substitution view of the atonement advocates that Christ, by His own sacrifical choice, was punished (penalized) in the place of sinners (substitution),thereby satisfying the demands of God's justice so God can justly forgive the sins and sinners. It is thus a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement in which the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment. In older writings this view is sometimes referred to as the forensic theory.

Penal substitution derives from the view that divine forgiveness must be accompanied by the satisfaction of divine justice. God is not willing or able to simply forgive sin without firstrequiring a just satisfaction for it. This view states that God gave Himself in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for our sin.

Penal Substitution proponents:
Thomas Aquinas
John Calvin
John Wesley

7) CHRISTUS VICTOR VIEW
The Christus Victor model has much to commend it. The idea is this: Christ is victor. Christ in his death and resurrection overcame over the hostile powers that hold humanity in subjection, those powers variously understood as the devil, sin, the law, and death. While the model assumes humanity's guilt for getting ourselves into this predicament—beginning with the original sin of Adam and Eve—the theory's anthropology (view of humanity) emphasizes not our guilt but our victimhood, at least the way it is often discussed today. The main human problem is that we are trapped and we need to be rescued: "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery" (Heb. 2:14-15).

Christus Victor proponents:
N. T. Wright (a contemporary theologian)
I'm sure there are others, this is all I know for now









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David Winter

 2021/2/15 15:43Profile
havok20x
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 Re:

In regard to the speakers of Isaiah 53, narrowpath, whom do you think the speakers are in Isaiah 53--the ones who are using "our," "we," etc? In other words, who IS the "we," the "our," etc?

Also, narrowpath and TrueWitness, do you have any resources that you would suggest to more fully grasp your positions? Any sermons, etc?

 2021/2/15 15:47Profile
havok20x
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Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 893
Pineville, LA

 Re:

Thank you docs for that thorough and enlightening list of popular atonement theories. I rather enjoy discussing these. Something that I have come to understand is that most of the atonement views that aren't quite right emphasize a particular aspect of the atonement over and above other aspects, therefore becoming slightly skewed in theology both in theory and in practice.

It is my view that if you combine all the true elements of the various views that you come up with a very comprehensive definition that falls almost entirely within the definition of the Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

 2021/2/15 15:55Profile
docs
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 Re:

havok,

I don't disagree with a word you said.

You wrote,

"I rather enjoy discussing these."

Yes, same here.


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David Winter

 2021/2/15 16:22Profile
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 Re:

I am in agreement with NP on this. I believe that penal substitution is correct, (with some of the other views thrown in for good measure) but we have to be careful in explaining it or we end up making God sound monstrous.

I realize some Christians have no problem making God sound monstrous but I don’t think it accomplishes anything and personally I don’t think God is monstrous in the least.


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Todd

 2021/2/15 22:30Profile
havok20x
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 Re:

TMK,

Have you seen American Gospel: In Christ Alone? If not, you should watch it, even if only for the explanation of the Atonement. I think it'll do exactly what you're talking about.

 2021/2/15 23:55Profile
narrowpath
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Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1174
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 Re:

One of my favourites is Roy Hession's "The Calvary Road"

https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=373

https://www.amazon.com/Calvary-Road-Personal-Essential-Classics/dp/1905044275/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Roy+Hession&qid=1584561521&sr=8-6&linkCode=sl1&tag=sermoninde099-20&linkId=eaee9679297ed0b0d018740df5b2fc3d&language=en_US

and David Pawsons
The normal Christian Birth
https://www.amazon.com/Normal-Christian-Birth-Believers-Proper/dp/0982305923/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=david+pawson+the+normal+christian+birth&qid=1613478433&sr=8-1

 2021/2/16 7:27Profile
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5780
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 Re:

I have The Calvary Road but have not read it in a long time. I’ll have to read it again.


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Todd

 2021/2/16 9:42Profile
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Posts: 893
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 Re:

I just purchased Calvary Road on ebay for 4.07; if anyone else is interested in obtaining this resource, there are several copies in good condition at that price range. Probably well worth the buy!

 2021/2/16 10:01Profile
docs
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Posts: 2387


 Re: The Cross at the Center

"It is extremely important that we give the cross its proper place in our thinking as Christians. Some years ago I was with a Christian co-worker in Singapore. In the course of our conversation, he remarked, "The Church has so many items in her shop window that the cross is no longer noticed."

"I realized my friend had put his finger on a major defect in the contemporary Church. Today you can go into a Christian bookstore and find a book on almost any subject - how to have a better marriage, how to raise godly children, how to understand your own personality, how to keep a better house. There is almost no limit! Many of these books have merit, but none would be effective without the cross. The cross is the only source of grace and power to make all the other good advice work. It is time the Church put the cross back in the center of her shop window."

(From "Bought with Blood" - by Derek Prince, copyright 2000. Ch 1 - "One All-Sufficient Sacrifice." pg 17)


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David Winter

 2021/2/16 10:13Profile





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